Ralph Hazlett Upson

In 1914, The Aero Club of St. Louis conducted its first major balloon race in four years. In October of 1913, the United States won the James Gordon Bennett International Balloon Race for the fourth time in seven years. The only two Americans in the race, Ralph Upson in the Goodyear and St. Louis' Harry Eugene Honeywell in the Uncle Sam, finished first and second respectively. Because of the victory, the United States was to be the host for the 1914 international race, and Upson and Honeywell were automatically granted positions on the three-man-American team. St. Louis made its customary bid for the Gordon Bennett Race, offering $5,000 in prizes for the contestants, but it lost out to Kansas City, as it had in 1911.
     In March of 1914, however, the Contest Committee of the Aero Club of America awarded St. Louis the annual National Balloon Race for that year, an elimination contest to choose the third duo for the American international team. Again the favorable geography of the city was a factor in its aeronautic success.
     R.A.D. Preston, pilot,and M.D. Tremelin, aide, by having won the National Balloon Race by flying 300 miles to Constance, Kentucky, won the right to represent the United States with Ralph Upson and Harry Eugene Honewell in the James Gordon Bennett International Balloon race at Kansas City in October 1914. That contest, however, was never held. The war clouds already rising in Europe canceled the Gordon Bennett Races for the next six years.

EB's Here and There

Ralph H. Upson has retired as professor of aeronautical engineering at the University of Minnesota and has gone with the Boeing Airplane Company at Seattle, Washington. His address is 1204 SW 137th St., Seattle, 66, Wash. Ralph first flew in 1913 and his experience has embraced balloon, airship, glider and airplane.
From The Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP
July, 1956, Number 54

       Ralph H. Upson was born in New Yok City, June 21, 1888
     Married Frances Talbot Allen. Their children were Frank Allen, Brent Talbot, Julia Ann, Nancy.
     He graduated from Stevens Institute the University of Michigan from 1930 to 1931.
     From 1914 to 1920, he was chief engineer of the Aero Dept. of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Akron, Ohio. Chairman Lighter-than-air Division Bureau of Standards, 1922 to 1924; Chief Engineer, Aircraft Developement Corp. 1922 to 1929 Lecturer and research specialist at New York University, until 1946; University of Minn. until 1956 when he joined the Boeing Aircraft Company, Seattle, Wash. He retired in 1965, but continued on as a consultant.
     He died August 13, 1968 in Seattle, of a heart ailment. He is survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters.
From The Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP, January, 1969, Number 75

City of Flight
City of Flight : The History of Aviation...
The History of Aviation in St. Louis
by James J. Horgan
The Patrice Press.

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